There are many things that can put film festivals off when you submit your film. For example, if your film is bad – that’s definitely not a good start. But, if you’re certain you’ve got a gem of a film and you want to avoid pissing off the people who have the ability to give it the go-ahead- Here’s the low-down on film-festival-etiquette.
After trawling the internet for the best tips and things to avoid, we have managed to devise a list of the most prevalent pet hates from the festival industry.
Try to avoid these 5 following things:
1. Bad organisation
Organisation is key, guys. I’m not just talking about submitting your film on time – that’s the LEAST you can do. You need to make sure you read all the rules and regulations of the festival so you’re fully prepared. Are you 100% sure your film meets all of the guidelines of the festival? Have you got all the music rights cleared?
You also need to complete all of the submission details. A particular pet-hate is when people put the wrong phone number down, so make sure your details are correct! It doesn’t take much time to give your info a proofread.
Make sure you reply within 24 hours if the festival contacts you. In fact, make sure you reply within 10 minutes, you don’t need to play hard to get- you’ll help them out by replying quickly.
However, that said, try not to be too communitive. If they don’t reply to you, don’t send them a series of the same email trying to get a response. Because chances are, you’ll just wind them up!
From Raindance Festival themselves:
“Another call we hate is from nervous filmmakers asking if we have seen their film yet.”
So, try and refrain from the general ‘checking in’, however tempting it might be.
Be polite! Manners can take you a long way in the film industry- which is something a lot of actors and filmmakers tend to forget. Try greeting and signing off your emails nicely instead of a simple ‘cheers’ – you need to be professional. Also, if anything goes wrong during the screening of your film, try not to take it out on the organisers.
At least one thing goes wrong at every film festival, even (especially) the big ones like Cannes. If you want to keep your contacts and networks in the industry- be nice to everyone! One that note, if your film makes it to the screening make sure you engage with your audience and network! The film industry is all about who knows you!
Also, be nice to your own crew. Make sure you have permission from everyone involved in the film before submitting. You don’t want a big fight on your hands because someone isn’t happy about a particular close-up. You never know who might be listening and, it could end up with your film being withdrawn.
4. No Social Network
When film festivals are vetting films, there’s no doubt that they will check up on your online presence. They want the screening to be packed out and if your film has a big following online, your film is more likely to ensure that! The less money the festival has to spend on marketing your screening, the better.
It’s also a chance to show your film off with behind-the-scenes footage and teaser trailers, so make sure your social media channels have quality content. It generally makes you and your crew appear more professional and enthusiastic.
5. Technical Issues
Sometimes technical issues can’t be helped, film festival organisers know that more than anyone. But, there are simple things that you can do to ensure that choosing your film to be screened is a smooth-sailing process.
Firstly, don’t send faulty preview disc. It sounds simple, but it happens more than you’d think, so double check everything is working well and is high quality. Avoid submitting your film by directing the festival through an online link. It might mean that your film buffers, skips and stalls, therefore, hindering the viewing experience. Also, if your film gets chosen to be screened, the screening might use a small player to show your film. So yeah, stay away from using the world wide web for your submission and screening.
Do you want to make a film that you can submit into a festival?
The first real step towards submitting a film into a festival is, you know, making a film.
If you’re interested in making a short-film with other talented young people, why not apply for one of our courses.